This native shrub grows up to 20 feet tall. The lance-shaped leaves, up to 5 inches long and rough to the touch, are opposite on reddish-brown, new-growth twigs (A). The leaves turn a wine red in the fall (D). The white flowers, with 4 petals, form a dense, flat-topped cluster (cyme) (B). The fruit is white, but occasionally light blue, and spherical (C,D). In comparison, alternate-leaved Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) has smooth, alternate leaves and dark blue fruit. Pale Dogwood (Cornus amomum) has smooth leaves, maroon-colored branches in winter, and blue fruit.
Found in wet or dry woods, flowering in May and June. In Fontenelle Forest, common on floodplain trails. At Neale Woods, common along the edges of prairies.
This shrub is highly invasive in prairies. It is controlled there by cutting and periodic burning.
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